REVIEW: Assassin's Creed III
I couldn't wait to get my hands on Assassin's Creed III not just because I'm a fan of the series but mostly because Assassin's Creed: Revelations left me hungry for more. While Revelations seemed a bit empty and diluted, ACIII is chock-full of missions and puzzles set in a vast and breathtaking setting.
The game is set in the end of 1700's in the British Colonies of America - Boston, New York and the vast surrounding frontier to be exact. The main story is intertwined with the events of the American Revolution. This game is very story oriented and the very long and seemingly unending introduction will clue you in on this right from the get-go. However, it's all worth it - especially just for that little twist at the end of the first sequence. The narrative of the main quests does seem a bit stiff and highly scripted but I think that can be attributed to the setting of the game. The American Revolution is a recent event by historical standards and was well documented which didn't give as much room for fiction and creative writing as the Renaissance or the Crusades did. I didn't find it to affect gameplay that much though because for me, it's all about the journey.
Speaking of journey, mine always include exploration and side quests and boy, did ACIII deliver! There's a lot to do in the game besides the main story. There even might be too much. It's a bit all over the place and completing every single mission and objective might not seem worth it but remember, it's all optional anyway. I do highly recommend completing the Homestead Missions. Basically, you have this virgin piece of land and as you complete these missions, you'll invite characters - hunters, farmers, artisans - to settle down and slowly build a community. First of all, the missions are story based so you'll get to learn more about your neighbours and Connor but more importantly, each completed mission will unlock resources and recipes. So, much like rebuilding Rome in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, completing the Homestead Missions will make you self-sufficient and rich. I also recommend the Naval Missions. Why? Why not! You have a boat, cannons, a crew and a spiffy Captain's outfit. You get to explore the Atlantic Ocean and engage in epic naval battles. It's great fun and one of the best aspect of this game. Everything else is really up to you. If a type of mission or objective is impeding on your gaming experience, skip it.
You'll also see from the very first cinematic how Ubisoft improved on graphics, animations and gameplay. The free running feels and looks better. The interactions with the crowd and environment are almost seamless. I did find the menus to be less intuitive and user friendly than previous Assassin's Creed games, though. I also wish Ubisoft would've abandoned quick time events... I've been mauled by many bears and wolves because of the random and chaotic nature of this style of gameplay.
This game is one of Ubisoft's most ambitious, advanced and beautiful game but unfortunately, it's also one of their buggiest. You'll explore the New England frontier in all of nature's majesty from lush green foliage to immaculate white snow and through majestic sunsets and ferocious storms. You'll also notice that it sometimes rains inside and that the citizens of Boston are walking around in the snow without any kind of winter clothing seemingly unaffected by the cold, some of them even barefoot. I've also run into issues with weird NPC pathing which prevented me from completed missions, having to either restart from a checkpoint or walk away and come back later. For example, one of my assassination target just walked right through a wall and got stuck halfway. I've often notice a certain delay in the sound effects - hearing the thump of Connor's feet a few seconds after he hit the ground, for example. The game being the beast that it is, I've also had issues with my game console crashing. I think it goes to show that game publishers are outgrowing the current consoles. It's nothing compared to games like Skyrim but it's just enough to prevent full immersion into the game and its story.
All that being said, the bottom line is that Assassin's Creed III is an incredibly fun game.You have a vast and beautiful world to explore and plenty to do. Pick and choose what you like and roll with it and you can do no wrong. This game is a must have for any gamer hungry for adventure, action and a good story.
Assassin's Creed III is currently available for PS3 and Xbox 360 and will soon be released for Wii U and PC. For more info, visit the Assassin's Creed website.